Jury deliberations are under way in Ohio's craigslist killings trial of Richard Beasley
THOMAS J. SHEERAN, Associated Press , Bob Jones, newsnet5.com
12:24 PM, Mar 11, 2013
11:25 PM, Mar 11, 2013
AKRON, Ohio - A Summit County jury deliberated for four hours Monday evening without reaching a verdict in the murder trial of Richard Beasley. The jury will resume talking about the case Tuesday at 9 a.m. In the meantime, they are sequestered in a hotel.
During closing arguments in the so-called craigslist killings trial, a prosecutor called Beasley a "master manipulator."
Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Jon Baumoel said, "there can be no reasonable doubt" that Beasley is guilty of each and every count. "This is Richard Beasley's show. He is the mastermind behind this plot," he added.
Baumoel said the victims were easy targets.
"They were desperate for a better life. They wanted hope. They wanted a second chance," he said.
Defense attorney James Burdon argued that violent motorcycle gangs, which had connections to Beasley, could be responsible for the heinous crimes.
Burdon said the prosecution failed to prove that Beasley was the killer.
"It's easy just to say it, but what we're talking about in this courtroom is what evidence is there to prove it," Burdon said.
The jury must reach verdicts on 26 counts, including multiple charges of aggravated murder.
Beasley is accused of luring men through a bogus craigslist ad that promised a job as a caretaker on a 688-acre farm in Noble County.
Three men, David Pauley, Ralph Geiger and Timothy Kern were shot, killed and buried. The bodies of Pauley and Geiger were discovered in a wooded area in Caldwell, Ohio. Kern's body was found in a shallow grave behind Rolling Acres Mall in Akron.
A fourth man, Scott Davis, was shot in the arm in Noble County. He ran into the woods and hid for several hours before walking to a home for help.
Baumoel argued to the jury that the killings would have continued if Davis hadn't escaped.
"Richard Beasley wasn't going to stop. He had a thirst for blood. He had a thirst for death," Baumoel said.
During the trial, Davis identified Beasley as the gunman. When Beasley took the stand in his own defense last Wednesday, he claimed that Davis shot at him.
"There were only two people in the woods when this incident occurred. Why is he (Davis) anymore credible than Richard Beasley?" Burdon asked in an effort to bolster Beasley's version of events.
If Beasley is convicted of aggravated murder, the jury of eight men and four women would return for phase two of the trial- the mitigation hearing- which could last several days. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Beasley.
A co-defendant, 17-year-old Brogan Rafferty, was convicted on multiple counts last October and is serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.